A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that most American’s know they need to avoid trans fats, but only 20% actually knew which foods contained trans fats.
Trans fat is a processed fat, produced as a by-product when hydrogen is added to make a substance more solid at room temperature. For example, margarine is hydrogenated vegetable oil – hydrogen was added and the by-product trans fat is produced. Although, it should be noted that many margarine’s have changed production procedures so the trans fatty acid by-product is not produced. Trans fats are just as bad for heart health (if not worse) than saturated fats. Trans fat increased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol.
Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are artificially produced in the laboratory by adding extra hydrogen atoms to unsaturated vegetable oils. They have long been a favorite of the food industry for their increased shelf life over conventional oils. Unlike natural fats, however, trans fats have no nutritional value and drastically increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Like saturated fats, they increase the body’s levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, but unlike those fats they also lower its levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Many processed foods contain trans fat, such as baked and fried foods, so read the food labels. As of January 2006, most manufacturers are required to list trans fatty acid content on the food label. Also, check the ingredient list for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” as a sign that the product contains trans fat.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
Be Heart Healthy and Lose Weight